53 Filipinos evacuated to Turkish capital Ankara
MANILA, Philippines — A total of 53 Filipinos have been evacuated to a shelter in Ankara following the magnitude 7.8 earthquake that rocked Turkey on Feb. 6.
Ma. Teresita Daza, the spokesperson for the Department of Foreign Affairs, said 53 Filipinos, including their spouses and children, are currently taking shelter in the capital city, while 25 Filipinos have already received relief goods as of Saturday.
“They (Philippine Embassy in Turkey) will try to give additional data on the number of Filipinos met, called, texted, emailed plus increases in number of evacuees and Filipinos given relief goods in due course,” Daza said, adding that the shelter is a dormitory arranged by the embassy for its evacuees.
The Philippine Embassy in Ankara, in a statement, said it had sought assistance from search and rescue teams on behalf of a missing Filipino woman and her children “feared to be still under rubble” in Hatay City.
“This was confirmed by her Turkish husband and her sister-in-law,” the embassy said.
Review Building Code
The embassy added that a team continues to be present in Mersin, less than 100 kilometers to Adana and roughly 250 km to Hatay, to respond immediately to the needs of Filipinos and their families there.
The embassy can be reached via telephone and WhatsApp (+905345772344), via email at firstname.lastname@example.org, and Facebook at www.facebook.com/PHinTurkey.
Meanwhile, Sen. Francis Tolentino on Sunday said the government should revisit the Building Code following last week’s temblor that killed over 28,000 people in Turkey and Syria.
Tolentino, former chair of the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority, noted that many of the buildings that collapsed in Turkey were suspected to have violated regulations on building construction.
He said the Senate would conduct a hearing this week to study proposals to improve the country’s rules and regulations on the construction of buildings.
“The lesson that we learned from this [tragic] incident is that we need to improve and strengthen our own Building Code,” Tolentino said in a radio interview.
Inspect old structures
Meanwhile, Sen. Nancy Binay said the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) should regularly monitor buildings, bridges, and other public infrastructures.
Binay, chair of the Senate tourism committee, said local governments should also conduct inspections of old structures in tourism districts, such as those built in the Intramuros area in Manila.
Aside from conducting earthquake drills, she said the DPWH, local governments, and other concerned state agencies should ensure the availability of equipment needed for search and rescue operations.
“Many of those destroyed in Turkey were old structures. That’s why we must continuously check our old bridges and other structures,” Binay told a media briefing.
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